The Qantas-Emirates alliance: two years on...

By David Flynn, April 2 2015
The Qantas-Emirates alliance: two years on...

TALKING POINT | This week sees the second anniversary of the Qantas and Emirates alliance – a partnership which represented a  tectonic shift in aviation and reshaped the landscape for Australian travellers.

That historic hookup put Dubai at the centre of the Flying Kangaroo's international network, signalling an end to the familiar Singapore stopover en route to London.

Reader poll: what’s your preferred stopover city?

But it also did away with the time-consuming and expensive need to back-track from London into Europe on Qantas' previous joint venture partner British Airways.

The most trumpeted benefit of the Qantas-Emirates alliance was that it put scores of European destinations – including a half-dozen in the UK – just one stop away from Emirates' hub in Dubai.

“Together we are taking more people to more places, with Qantas customers now being able to access more than 70 Emirates destinations in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa" says Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans.

The move also opened up all of Emirates' flights out of Australia to  to Qantas loyalists, who can book those flights under a QF number to earn a full serve of Qantas frequent flyer points and status credits.

Flashing your Qantas Frequent Flyer card also affords entry into most Emirates lounges (depending on your status).

Two years down the track, we'd wager that almost every Australian Business Traveller reader has had the opportunity to fly on the Qantas-Emirates network.

So it's time to ask for your experiences under the Qantas-Emirates alliance, how you view the hookup and how it's changed your travel habits.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Oct 2013

Total posts 113

now an emriates convert - previously with the schlepp from ADL  to SYD or MEL  to get to LHR and then connect to CPH or drive up to Birmingham (my family home)  was a royal pain - now 2 flights direct from ADL via dDXB and i am there to either of my 2 european cities - great choice of change by QF although loyalty has now swopped over to Emirates of course! - Business class great service and although not as good as QF and 2-3-2 making it a bit tighter in J i love the directness of flights which now wins over the time wasting of connections - brill!


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 729

Yes another convert here, always travel Business to Europe on Emirates, their superior service all the way from home pick up to check in, fast track clearance and fantastic Melbourne lounge to my favourite 9A Business seat, Emirates A380's are big luxurious aircraft, surpurbly thought out, makes the Red ones flying look committee designed, that signature bar at the rear of the upper deck is a supurb retreat, if i tire of my own seat I can spend hours down the back, and I just love all that burr walnut look, even down to the toilet seat. It has an atmosphere and service Qantas don't give. Punctuality is alway good.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 386

Bring back Singapore!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 502

We have to wait until the 787s but thats's still not decided.

03 Jan 2012

Total posts 96

From Perth. 2 things come to mind.  USA connections mean either a 3am start to make the 530am flight to connect with any QF A380s out of Sydney; or taking the Red Eye which is probably a worse start to a long trip. Europe bound flights with Emirates do not offer lay-flat bed in Business out of Perth. Food is not so good as Qantas IMHO. Entertainment is proabably a little better. So overall, it's definatley a 2nd rate service for Perth QF frequent flyers.  On the upside, Emirates flies to lots of destinations without the backtrack through London. Emirates First lounges in DBX are very good. Emirates lounge in Perth is naff.  Would have been better to keep Singapore Hub and hook up a deal with Singapore Airlines - which is a much better airline than Emirates.  Now that would have been a value add proposition! Great hub, great airline, great destinations in Asia, Europe and USA, fantastic lounges, great business class product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2015

Total posts 59

A380 out of perth soon...this month or next. Will be lay flat J

10 Nov 2014

Total posts 8

One thing that will probably go unnoticed is the continuation of the Emirates aircraft from the East Coast to NZ. Emirates has set a new benchmark on these smaller routes for other airlines to follow. Gone are the days of cheap no frills flights and the return of full service larger aircraft comfort.  

Qantas - P1 Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 45

I agree with all the positives mentioned: The direct flights to European destinations are a huge positive. I live in Adelaide, so this is especially true for me. That said, the one big negative is the lack of consistency in the business class seat that is offered. The 777-300 ER seat in Emirates is not up to scratch compared to the one on the A380. Hopefully, Emirates will upgrade the 777 seats at some stage. 

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 436

EK have a very substandard J and Y product on their 777s which still make up the majority of their fleet, regardless of how many A380s they have on order. Im surprised the public trumpet them as the worlds best airline when there's such a huge product inconsistency

13 Dec 2012

Total posts 2

Have not been at all impressed. I fly PER-IAH and frankly with poor lounges and absurd flight times it's easier to fly other airlines. EK J Class is horribly overrated IMHO. Chauffer Drive service is patchy. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 441

Angle lie flat seats on the 777 with the service of J, but then a fully flat bed on the A380 with the service of Y since the entire upper deck is business.  Just can't win! 

Well I am now sitting on over 75% opups since the alliance whereas before it was less than 10% so I am a happy chappie.

12 Oct 2011

Total posts 23

Yes! This is a huge incentive for me to pick Emirates flights over Qantas flights even on routes that are also served by Qantas. I was sitting on 0% opups from Qantas internationally but now somewhere between 66-75% on Emirates flights.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 567

From a network perspective, it's definitely a good thing. Imagine Qantas' scaleback had they kept with the BA arrangement? Or would it had forced them to stay in unprofitable routes which would have almost certainly broken the back.

This network is exactly, wholly and solely the reson I use Qantas. If Virgin had a real international network, I'd be a staunch VA loyalist. Instead, I have to play airline polygomy!


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 203

If the alliance was such a great idea, why is QF's international market share still declining? From a PER perspective, the absence of QF has meant that other airlines have stepped in to offer better services for less cost. And this won't change when EK run a 380 there.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1422

QF's international market is not falling it is just that its share is due to many more entrants when the dollar was high. I suspect that not only will the market rise but so will the share. Interesting that QF stil offer BA backtracks sometimes at a lower price




12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Nope. Never been on an EK operated flight and likely won't unless they join oneworld.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Apr 2015

Total posts 5

Personally didn't mind the Singapore stopover but I must say this partnership is among the finer things Qantas has achieved. 

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

I mainly fly domestic for business. Europe only once a year (econ unfortunately). Out of BNE there is no choice if you want a QF flight number. Emirates all the way. At least we have the A380 though right.

First experience with Emirates was 2014 trip. Pre-boarding exemplary. Emirates BNE lounge superb. Sumptuous buffet, bottomless Veuve, direct boarding. Streets ahead of the QF 'waiting room' at BNE.

Inflight econ service pretty standard. Gluten free meal options ordinary but I am use to that and usually cater for myself. DBX airport terrible. Over an hour to be bused to terminal from miles away. Apparently this is pretty standard. Business lounge basically a big cafeteria, no chance of a shower unless you are prepared to sit in line. Hoards of people.

What you gain from the benefits of direct Emirates European destinations you lose in ordinary flight connections. Arrived ARN for day flight back to BNE via DBX. Not allocated seat I selected online. Told at check-in to check with lounge staff. Told by lounge staff to check with gate staff. Told by FA responsible for high status FFs sorry she was not aware of me being on the flight. Anyway she said that seat selections are not guaranteed on QF code shares (even for gold and platinum). Flight full no chance of seat change. Very appologetic. That is where my gold FF service stopped. Never saw her again.

Elected stop over in DBX due to no chance of direct connection to BNE. Wish I had chosen the flight to BNE via SIN on 777 instead. Or to go via LHR. It's not that bad in transit and at least you get a break from travel.

So now SQ is my airline of choice to Europe. Previous experience indicates that great expectations usually met. Due to my unrelenting need for FF uniformity have now swapped to VA for all domestic business travel. Such a shame. I love QF. Looking forward to coming back soon.

Emirates deal is probably good for QF, unfortunately not for me.

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 128

The Middle East shift was a brilliant (and necessary) move.  I'll give AJ credit for that.  Anyone pretending it would be possible to run a viable business through Asia instead is dreaming.  Yes, Cathay and Singapore are great airlines, but they just don't have the same European/African/Near Eastern route network as the ME3, so you don't get the same benefits.

The mistake AJ made was choosing Emirates as a partner, when Qatar would have been a more logical choice.  The QF-EK alliance always seems very one-sided to me, whereas a QF-QR match would have been a marriage of equals producing real benefits to both.  For instance:

  1. QR offers all the same connection opportunites as EK beyond DOH.
  2. QF complements the QR network by adding new destinations like SYD, New Zealand, etc.
  3. QF1/2 and QF 9/10 allow an all-A380 service between DOH and LHR instead of the current mix of old A330s/A340s.
  4. On thinner routes like BNE-DOH or ADL-DOH, QF could operate services themselves (787 anyone?) instead of abandoning them to their partner as they have with EK.
  5. QR is a oneworld member, keeping business "in the family" as it were and pleasing the OW elites.
In addition, with QR and BA having their own tie-up (including QR buying a stake in BA's parent IAG), no doubt there would have been opportunites to continue some sort of relationship with BA.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

We can always wait for the ACCC to either pull the EK deal early or not renew it, thereby allowing a BA/QR/QF tieup.


I wish they would link the AA/JL and AA/QF transpac tieups.

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